A young girl stands in front of an American flag

How to Learn English: Tips and Tricks

Learning a second language (fluently), unless you were brought up speaking more than one, is one of the single hardest things a grown-up can attempt. Especially English, with similar words like “through,” “rough,” “thought,” and “though.” However, you can speak English with the best of them if you put enough work into it. And there are some very simple ways to do that.

Practice, practice, practice!

You can’t possibly expect to learn something without practicing. You didn’t learn to ride your bicycle without falling down, and you won’t learn how to speak English without making some mistakes. But the more you work, the better you get. Find someone else who’s trying to learn it, too. You can show each other where things are going wrong, and have someone to ask questions when you just don’t quite get why “th” makes that strange sound, or why vowels make so many different noises. Not just speaking though - you have to practice writing it too.

Find an English-speaking pen pal (there’s forums all over the internet for just that purpose), and swap letters once a month. That way, you can learn about culture as well as language.

Take online english lessons.

Whether you’re teaching yourself, taking a class, or going to school for it, online English courses are a great source of information. Most websites are set up to teach a myriad of languages, but that just means that once you’ve mastered English, you can move on to something else.

Some websites require payment to have access to the entire site, but some offer completely free English classes. You get to work at your own pace, in the way you work best. Some of them even make flashcards for you - and what a magical world that will be!

Do little things daily.

There are a lot of smaller things you can do to make life and learning easier as well. Make labels for everything in your house, so that when you look at it, you start to think “table” instead of “bord” or “mesa” or “stul.” Read the directions on boxes, or signs on walls, or even buy books and newspapers in English instead of your primary language. Get a book on colloquialisms, so you know what it means when someone says “a horse of a different color.”

The biggest thing about learning to speak another language is learning to think in another language. So while you should be practicing out loud to yourself, listening to as much English as you can get your hands on, and reading in English, you have to start thinking in English too. Eventually, you’ll be able to hear a sentence, and instead of having to pause to translate it in your head, it’ll translate itself - just the way a sentence in your native language does.

Travel.

Although there’s a million tips and tricks that can help you learn to speak English, the most helpful thing you can do is immerse yourself in the culture. Go to America, England, Ireland, anywhere there’s a large population of English speakers. Most people who learn a second language will tell you that despite the fact that they felt fluent in the language, until they went to the country and were forced into speaking only that second language did they actually begin to be able to conjugate verbs on the drop of a dime.

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